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Subject: ASL second thoughts rss

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Mike Windsor
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I invested in ATS and LnL WWII tactical games before selling those off in favor of ASLSK. I then bought Beyond Valor and the rules binder, and began the lengthy task of clipping counters. Over time, however, I keep finding that I go to my game collection, look at the ASL games (including the SK's), and think, "Maybe I'll play ASL tomorrow, but I'm not sure I want to today." Its been over six months since I've played any ASL, and I can't say that I feel any urge to pull it out any time soon.

I'm not sure what the problem is with ASL. Complexity doesn't bother me, I can put up with a bunch of complexity and die rolling in a ship combat game, because I feel like the work I'm doing in the game makes a real difference. On the other hand, it seems like I'm looking up rules and doing things in ASL that don't really seem to make a difference. There's also something about the ASL sequence of play that strikes me as a bit contrived or "gamey." As much as anything, I feel like I'm spending more time fiddling with rules instead of thinking about my overall strategy (I guess its tactics at this scale).

I'm not sure exactly the point of this post, so I beg the indulgence of my fellow Geeks. ASL seems to be a love it or hate it system. I guess I'm curious if others have been in this same (ambivalent) situation that I find myself. Should I stick with it? Should I acknowledge that 6+ months of ignoring a system is a good indicator that I should bail on all. Should I at least give up on "full ASL" and keep the SK's?

If I do bail on ASL, what should I try for a WWII tactical fix? There was a lot I liked about the LnL games. Should I just save money and print out the Victory & Valor rules and counters? Is there something I may not have tried? Thanks for your thoughts.
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Enrico Viglino
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I can't say I'm much more than ambivalent about ASL.

It could be okay, but never much hooked me.
Only time I had fun was with Red Barricades,
and that definitely seemed to be abstracting
time far too much to make it a simulation worthy
of all the effort ASL goes through.
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Sam H
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I think the first thing to enjoy ASL is to see it as a game. It's a great simulation of a good war movie, with lots of stuff blowing up. For real simulation, games like "Fields of fire" probably do a better job.

I started wargaming through ASLSk and for a while, it was the only game I would play. Discovering other games, put me off the system for a while.

I recently came back to it and am finding it to be a lot of fun. I don't think I fall into the "ASL lifestyle" type of gamer, as I don't really want to play that and nothing else, but for tactical gaming fun, it does the job, and it does it well.

With all the ASLSK scenarios being published by MMP and others, an upcoming historical ASLSK, you could probably make do with the starter kits and never go full. This is considered heretical in some circles, but then again, the starter kits are great games in their own right.
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I won't get into the whole simulation thing, but the the real weakness in the system is that Command & Control are totally ignored with the exception of some tank radio options and even those are ultimately a superficial way of dealing with it.

The game is a lot of fun, but if I had to levy one critique that drives me nuts every time...that's it. The game has a lot going for it, but when you're investing 3 hours, minimum, into a 5 turn game then it better be pretty darn good!
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Jim F
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Personally, if I wasn't enjoying a game I'd bail out on it. At least with ASL you will make a reasonable amount if you sell it off and if you wait for it to go out of print, you can actually make money on it.

I'm just getting into ASL having got rid of my LnL gear. I like ATS but can't find any opponents. There is always CC, although you have to accept no tanks or FF:GD where there is currently only one module. CoH is also out there - see what you think.
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I started off on tactical games last year. I bought most of the systems and tried them out. I completely ruled out Combat Commander Series right off as it had cards which I didn't think I would like, plus I didn't think it would play well solitaire.

On a whim I picked up Combat Commander: Europe when GMT Games had their 50% off Facebook promotion. Ironically, I ended up with Combat Commander Series being my tactical game of choice. It's just a damn fun system. The cards really make it interesting, as you can play the same scenario repeatedly and still not know what to expect. It's not the best solitaire, but it's not bad either.

I still have my Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kits and I still enjoy playing them off and on.

So I'd say keep the ASL stuff, and maybe take a look at the Combat Commander Series.

(If you are open to SciFi wargames, Federation Commander is outstanding in my opinion and might be worth a look as well.)
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Michael Dorosh
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mwindsor wrote:
I invested in ATS and LnL WWII tactical games before selling those off in favor of ASLSK. I then bought Beyond Valor and the rules binder, and began the lengthy task of clipping counters. Over time, however, I keep finding that I go to my game collection, look at the ASL games (including the SK's), and think, "Maybe I'll play ASL tomorrow, but I'm not sure I want to today." Its been over six months since I've played any ASL, and I can't say that I feel any urge to pull it out any time soon.

I'm not sure what the problem is with ASL. Complexity doesn't bother me, I can put up with a bunch of complexity and die rolling in a ship combat game, because I feel like the work I'm doing in the game makes a real difference. On the other hand, it seems like I'm looking up rules and doing things in ASL that don't really seem to make a difference. There's also something about the ASL sequence of play that strikes me as a bit contrived or "gamey."


That's because it's a game. And a fun one.

Any resemblance to a serious simulation of infantry combat in World War II is purely coincidental. Way too much reliance on dice for that. But there are more "random events" in a single scenario that will provide fodder for reliving and laughing about the experience than just about any other game. You'll watch incredulously as 7-0 leaders lead heroic charges, and curse as HMGs jam at the worst possible moments; then get repaired and be taken over by Heroes that spring up out of thin air, in scenarios that come down to the final Close Combat dice roll.

But there isn't a serious bone in ASL's body, unless you count some of the AFV modelling, which could inform a computer simulation. Fitting, because you sometimes need a computer to calculate the To Hit/To Kill routines.
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mwindsor wrote:

I'm not sure what the problem is with ASL.


Hmmm....are you playing it/have you played it with people, or solo? That makes a big difference. This really isn't a solitaire game.

Quote:

Complexity doesn't bother me, I can put up with a bunch of complexity and die rolling in a ship combat game, because I feel like the work I'm doing in the game makes a real difference. On the other hand, it seems like I'm looking up rules and doing things in ASL that don't really seem to make a difference.


Really? Hm. I actually hear you loud and clear about complexity. I have definitely played games brimming with complexity for its own sake, that felt like an absolute chore to play (SPQR comes to mind). But I don't think I've felt that way about ASL ever. I think this is because most things can be easily visualised when playing. A lot of the complexity comes from adding rules which enable behaviours which just make sense--like snapshots or bypass moves, or smoke grenades rolling back down a hill at you, or vehicular overruns or buildings exploding in flame and smoke drifting in the sky.

I haven't totally mastered the game rules, nor gamed using every aspect of the rules--far from it--but thus far, I can't think of anything in the rules which is "dead" complexity. Rolling wind change every rally phase seems pointless, because it is so rare that anything happens (only on a 2 or 12), but the effects of wind change can be very meaningful.

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There's also something about the ASL sequence of play that strikes me as a bit contrived or "gamey."


Really? Now, I do think ASL is "gamey," because, well, it is a game. I'm a gamer, and ASL is a gamer's game. But the sequence of play makes perfect sense to me.

Rally Phase: "ok boys, stop crying, we have work to do. get up!"
Prep: "you guys, cover me! I'm going in!"
Move: "run run run!"
DFire: "the enemy is approaching! fire!"
Advancing Fire: the squads finish their sprint and jump into cover and take a few shost.
Rout: "oh frak, they're all up on us run!"
Advance: "charge ahead bro!"
CC: face stab knife!

Isn't that a general flow of how stuff goes down? At least in movies.

Quote:
As much as anything, I feel like I'm spending more time fiddling with rules instead of thinking about my overall strategy (I guess its tactics at this scale).


That's because you are still learning the game. And at a rate of one game every six months, you will always feel this way, because you aren't reinforcing your learning. You have to put in a little effort.

Quote:
Should I stick with it? Should I acknowledge that 6+ months of ignoring a system is a good indicator that I should bail on all. Should I at least give up on "full ASL" and keep the SK's?


If you have played the game with other human beings and it didn't hook you, then hey, it didn't hook you. One of the joys of ASL is mastering/learning a complex system. It is like learning a foreign language. I derive much pleasure from looking at a game in progress and thinking about all the myriad details of what is going on--the smoke, the residual fire, the broken units and malfed guns, the hidden squads and heroes. It is so incredibly rich and satisfying!
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Enrico Viglino
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Rindu wrote:


Really? Hm. I actually hear you loud and clear about complexity. I have definitely played games brimming with complexity for its own sake, that felt like an absolute chore to play (SPQR comes to mind). But I don't think I've felt that way about ASL ever. I think this is because most things can be easily visualised when playing. A lot of the complexity comes from adding rules which enable behaviours which just make sense--like snapshots or bypass moves, or smoke grenades rolling back down a hill at you, or vehicular overruns or buildings exploding in flame and smoke drifting in the sky.


This is likely more a matter of tastes and interests,
than anything else. I feel the same about ASL, yet not
about SPQR (though I could certainly see people who would).

What's happening on an ancient battlefield is just so much
more 'real' to me than a modern firefight. That said, both
games are very fiddly, in terms of lots of little mechanical
actions. I wouldn't call this 'complexity' though. More, 'tedium'.
It probably takes a high tolerance for such (which I have) as well
as for the subject matter (in ASL's case that's lacking for me -
seems that would be the issue for you, in SPQR).

Quote:
That's because you are still learning the game. And at a rate of one game every six months, you will always feel this way, because you aren't reinforcing your learning. You have to put in a little effort.


Makes ASL a game which requires studying, to even be competent with
the rules then. The only thing I felt close to wanting to examine
so much was SFB, when I was addicted to it. I don't think a game
should require one to be so addicted to enjoy.
 
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Adam D.
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I think the first thing to enjoy ASL is to see it as a game. It's a great simulation of a good war movie, with lots of stuff blowing up. For real simulation, games like "Fields of fire" probably do a better job.


But isn't the point of 1,000 page rulebooks to try and get some realism in there? To try and recreate the situations and outcomes to the best fidelity possible given the medium? Otherwise, why put up with crazy amounts of fiddly rules like that?

Not a rant, just an observation.
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earthboot wrote:


I don't feel any pangs of guilt by 'giving up' on ASL, just in the same way I don't feel any remorse about selling off dozens of other games that I felt weren't for me.



Too true. Don't keep dead weight in your collection. I happen to be on the flip side, someone who loves ASL. I have no pangs about dropping some other games from my collection that just don't get any play. No game is for everyone.
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Malcolm Cameron
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mwindsor wrote:
... it seems like I'm looking up rules ... in ASL that don't really seem to make a difference.


The secret is to only look up the rules that do make a difference.

As others have said, the key is to remember this is a game. It is - first and foremost - fun.

The sequence of play is pretty easy to remember. Infantry movement and shooting is pretty basic. CC and Ambush get a bit more fiddly but not much.

If you do decide to play ASL, just let it flow over you. Make rules mistakes (rule A.2 is the most important in the rule book). Learn important rules when others use them against you. See how LOS works the hard way. Get blown away by the other side on Turn 2. Start again and try a different scenario, or the same with different tactics.

Enjoy the tension - which you only get vs another player (I play lots of games solitaire but never ASL - it just does not work for me solo).

Or not. It is not for everyone.

But if you remain even vaguely interested, play with the rules out of reach and the dice (and charts) in hand.

Then you will know whether it is for you. If it is, read the rules again after the game to figure out where you messed up. But if you do that along the way as you learn you may bore yourself to death.

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I've been moving towards platoon level games such as Panzer Grenadier or Nations at War Series. Scenarios in these games tend to represent a few hours of time,rather than a few minutes. It makes me feel like I'm doing something more significant. In Panzer Grenadier, for example, I was able to do a nighttime bridging action, which I could have never done in a squad level game.
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I started with ASL (the whole thing, no the Starter Kit) and was totally hooked on it from the get-go. I loved the detail, I loved the idea that you could do almost any battle or theatre. I loved the vehicle notes. There were some systems within the game that I wasn't crazy about, like OBA, but I grew to like them.

When I try to play other tactical games, like Panzer Grenadier, Lock N Load, Combat Commander or Fighting Formations, I always find something about them that you can do in ASL, but just can't do in those systems. I do like playing those other games, but my first love is ASL.

For those who don't think ASL has command and control-- you must make every morale check, huh? Never get casualty reduced or KIA'd? There's a lot of stuff that doesn't go the way you planned in ASL. I'm not saying it's "realistic", any more than any other war game. But it models battlefield chaos in an interesting and fun way. And that battlefield can be anywhere in the world with any of the troops from WW2. That's why I love ASL.

All that being said, I can understand that there are people who don't like ASL, and that's OK too. There are plenty of other games out there that are good for getting a WW2 tactical fix. Life's to short to waste your time playing something you're not having fun with.
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Eric Walters
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I find something I like in nearly every tactical system out there. But what keeps me playing in a particular genre is opponents who want to play scenarios in it. If you aren't playing/enjoying Advanced Squad Leader it might not be the game, it's finding Face To Face opponents with whom you love to play it.

For me, I just can't bring myself to VASSAL it...I know I'm missing so much, but then I do have the luxury of tons of ASL opponents where I live. As well as opponents in a number of other systems/series as well!

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I'm in a similar boat, having originally invested in ATS and Panzer Grenadier, selling those off to go hip-deep in ASL, only to sell those off (at a slight profit due to fortunate timing)and reinvest in ATS and PG.

Recently, when the friend I game with decided to go all in with ASL, I picked some stuff back up but decided to hold onto my ATS and PG this time. We've done some ASLSK stuff from 1 and 2 (I think) and had a good time with both, but those games made me realize ASL was never going to be a big part of my gaming time.

For me, it plays a little bit like a slightly clunky 25+ year old game, but I don't mind that too much with the SK scenarios we've done. What killed any chance of me becoming an ASL lifer was starting to read the rule book. How it was written didn't click with me and knowing that there are hundreds of pages didn't help. People say either you only need a small core of them 90% of the time or just ignore what you don't want to use. I think both pieces of advice are sound, but they also indicate to me that ATS probably covers the same ground (for me) given those parameters. My enjoyment comes from knowing that I'm playing the full game, that when I do something, I want to apply the rule as the game was intended, so knowing I'm leaving stuff out would bother me, and given the size of the rule book, I would always be leaving something out.

I think, and I don't know if this is just a modern trend or something that's always held true, a lot of gamers want elegantly designed games. ASL isn't what I would call elegant since they bolt on rules for everything under the sun, but I would say the original Squad Leader with some CoI was. I also believe the runaway success of the starter kits supports this. The ASLSK fans have found a pretty elegant tactical WW2 system really works well and deserves the full treatment. They aren't starter kits in my mind, they are Squad Leader reborn, and I wish the SK system would get some more development and a few additions to make it feel complete... then expanded to have its own beyond valor, gung ho, bushido, etc...

In the end, I want ASL to be out there for those who desire that experience, but I think ASL asks too much out of the player to handle the game competently for it to be just another game in the line up. If you want to dedicate the time, then the system may be for you, but it sounds like the OP can't find the desire to dedicate the time.
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TheCollector wrote:
But isn't the point of 1,000 page rulebooks to try and get some realism in there? To try and recreate the situations and outcomes to the best fidelity possible given the medium? Otherwise, why put up with crazy amounts of fiddly rules like that?


Starfleet Battles also has 1,000 page rulebooks but, because it happens in a scifi universe, no one pretends that it is trying to create "realism"; they understand that it simply provides "detail".

Same for, say, Car Wars or Battletech or D&D, all of which have lots and lots and lots of rules written for them. No one thinks all those rules add up to "realism". (I hope.)
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hoostus wrote:
TheCollector wrote:
But isn't the point of 1,000 page rulebooks to try and get some realism in there? To try and recreate the situations and outcomes to the best fidelity possible given the medium? Otherwise, why put up with crazy amounts of fiddly rules like that?


Starfleet Battles also has 1,000 page rulebooks but, because it happens in a scifi universe, no one pretends that it is trying to create "realism"; they understand that it simply provides "detail".

Same for, say, Car Wars or Battletech or D&D, all of which have lots and lots and lots of rules written for them. No one thinks all those rules add up to "realism". (I hope.)


Well, to be fair, complexity SELDOM increases 'realism'.
Very simple systems are usually better controlled, and thus
easier to channel. The more options, the more likelihood of
unreasonable results.

In the case of ASL, one HOPES that the detail doesn't clash
too heavily with one's perception of reality. Same with Car
Wars (in fact, finding little quirks in that game largely
drove my group away from it). SFB or D&D deal with a situation
where our understanding of reality is deliberately being undermined
though - still, they make a reasonable effort to not tax suspension
of disbelief, within certain core assumptions (ok - maybe not so
much D&D - but I've seen long arguments about why the falling system
was indeed 'realistic').

When I play a game which is simulating real events, and expends that
much effort to try and model them, I expect it to do a better job
than many lighter games - at the same level of detail.
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calandale wrote:

What's happening on an ancient battlefield is just so much
more 'real' to me than a modern firefight. That said, both
games are very fiddly, in terms of lots of little mechanical
actions. I wouldn't call this 'complexity' though. More, 'tedium'.
It probably takes a high tolerance for such (which I have) as well
as for the subject matter (in ASL's case that's lacking for me -
seems that would be the issue for you, in SPQR).


I get where you are coming from on this...but I think that ASL is not tedious, while SPQR is, and I don't think that this has much to do with taste. See, I'm trained as a classicist, multiple degrees in classical languages, fluent reader of latin and ancient greek. When I first discovered GBoH, I started jizzing. On the other hand, I know very little about WWII and have only read one book on the subject in my life. I've learned more about WWII from gaming, actually.

The problem is that GBoH is boring: the complex procedures do not belie any interesting decisions. You move your line up to engage, the enemy throws their javelins at you, and you throw back. This just involves rolling a die over and over again. There is no decision to make. OF COURSE everyone is going to throw their javelins. There is no reason not to. THEN everyone has to take pre-shock TQ checks. So, ok, all down the line you roll a die over and over again. There is no decision to make here. You've already made the decision, and it was the decision to move your front like up to engage. Then after you've rolled the die 100 times, you consult a chart which tells you what chart to roll on (seriously? why were these tables not unified?), then you roll on that chart. Repeat that for all the units down the line. THEN you might still have to make collapse checks all down the line. Then, when enemy units rout, you MUST advance, triggering possibly more reaction fire.

That is TEDIOUS AS FRACK, and you have to do ALL THAT from making ONE decision. YAWN. I don't care how into the time period I am--and I'm WAY into it, I devoted a LOT of my life to it--I'd rather watch paint dry.

But you know what I love about ASL, as a game? I'm CONSTANTLY making decisions. Do I want to fire at that moving unit? If so, do I want to fire at him here? or here? I'd really like to wait until he gets to this hex right here...but oh crap what if he goes left instead of right? Pretty much, every time my opponent does anything at all, I have a decision to make. My brain is firing on all cylinders when I'm playing. And when I do decide to fire, I just total my FP and modifiers and roll, and check the result on a table. I roll once. Unless it is a Gun which rolls to hit, but that is no different from playing D&D, so that is fine. (Hands up if you play/have played both ASL and some role playing games!)

So even though thematically GBoH is right up my alley, and I couldn't care less about WWII, I'm ASL all the way. I love Ben Hull's Musket and Pike games for the same reason. Lots of decision points ("do you want to use pistols?")--you have complex options, and the result is a good story at the end.

Quote:
Quote:
That's because you are still learning the game. And at a rate of one game every six months, you will always feel this way, because you aren't reinforcing your learning. You have to put in a little effort.


Makes ASL a game which requires studying, to even be competent with
the rules then. The only thing I felt close to wanting to examine
so much was SFB, when I was addicted to it. I don't think a game
should require one to be so addicted to enjoy.


Chess. Go. Just saying. I think one of the marks of a good game is that it repays study and can be played over and over again. To be real honest there aren't a lot of wargames like this. ASL, The Napoleonic Wars, Paths of Glory...World in Flames...

What makes ASL so awesome for the kinds of people who love it, is that you can study tactics a lot, but also rules a lot. It is for people who really enjoy the learning process, and love stumbling across something which seems mysterious, yet coherent. In fact, I once introduced someone to ASL by showing them the Advanced ASOP divider. Yes. It is insane, baroque, and makes the game look impossible. But that challenge and initial mystery is exactly why we love the game. What joy it is to read a paragraph of text which makes absolutely no sense, but after some patient study, to return and have it be clear. To learn a secret language, to join an obscure club. There are people reading this paragraph who know exactly what I am talking about.
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Rindu wrote:


I get where you are coming from on this...but I think that ASL is not tedious, while SPQR is, and I don't think that this has much to do with taste. See, I'm trained as a classicist, multiple degrees in classical languages, fluent reader of latin and ancient greek. When I first discovered GBoH, I started jizzing. On the other hand, I know very little about WWII and have only read one book on the subject in my life. I've learned more about WWII from gaming, actually.

The problem is that GBoH is boring: the complex procedures do not belie any interesting decisions. You move your line up to engage, the enemy throws their javelins at you, and you throw back. This just involves rolling a die over and over again. There is no decision to make. OF COURSE everyone is going to throw their javelins. There is no reason not to. THEN everyone has to take pre-shock TQ checks. So, ok, all down the line you roll a die over and over again. There is no decision to make here. You've already made the decision, and it was the decision to move your front like up to engage. Then after you've rolled the die 100 times, you consult a chart which tells you what chart to roll on (seriously? why were these tables not unified?), then you roll on that chart. Repeat that for all the units down the line. THEN you might still have to make collapse checks all down the line. Then, when enemy units rout, you MUST advance, triggering possibly more reaction fire.

That is TEDIOUS AS FRACK, and you have to do ALL THAT from making ONE decision. YAWN. I don't care how into the time period I am--and I'm WAY into it, I devoted a LOT of my life to it--I'd rather watch paint dry.


Hmm...I see the distinction - I play without much caring for
decisions. It's only the story I want. Combining the rolls would
give me less of a picture of what is happening. Each of those
die rolls gives me a detail to picture. I thought this was the same
for you, with your description of the grenade rolling.



Quote:
But you know what I love about ASL, as a game? I'm CONSTANTLY making decisions. Do I want to fire at that moving unit? If so, do I want to fire at him here? or here? I'd really like to wait until he gets to this hex right here...but oh crap what if he goes left instead of right? Pretty much, every time my opponent does anything at all, I have a decision to make. My brain is firing on all cylinders when I'm playing. And when I do decide to fire, I just total my FP and modifiers and roll, and check the result on a table. I roll once.


And, you know what? I actually would rather NOT have so many
decisions. My poor little brain can't handle it. Seriously.
I'm doing a vid treatment of Empire of the Sun and (before
reading this) noted that very fact - there are just too many key
choices in a lot of these modern designs for my tastes. I want
downtime, where I'm fiddling with things.

Quote:
Unless it is a Gun which rolls to hit, but that is no different from playing D&D, so that is fine. (Hands up if you play/have played both ASL and some role playing games!)


*raises hand* - but, there too, I liked the story more -
and moved to more detailed systems to get more of it.

Quote:
So even though thematically GBoH is right up my alley, and I couldn't care less about WWII, I'm ASL all the way. I love Ben Hull's Musket and Pike games for the same reason. Lots of decision points ("do you want to use pistols?")--you have complex options, and the result is a good story at the end.


Maybe. I want each of those details though. All the decisions
get in the way of the images.

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That's because you are still learning the game. And at a rate of one game every six months, you will always feel this way, because you aren't reinforcing your learning. You have to put in a little effort.


Makes ASL a game which requires studying, to even be competent with
the rules then. The only thing I felt close to wanting to examine
so much was SFB, when I was addicted to it. I don't think a game
should require one to be so addicted to enjoy.


Chess. Go. Just saying. I think one of the marks of a good game is that it repays study and can be played over and over again. To be real honest there aren't a lot of wargames like this. ASL, The Napoleonic Wars, Paths of Glory...World in Flames...


Chess and Go don't require such study just to enjoy. To play well?
Yes. I think the list of wargames which allow that is far larger
than what you're putting forth (actually, had you left WIF off -
I'd see where you're coming from, but the decisions there are
too similar to those in a whole slew of older strategic games).

I'm not sure that ASL does require that level of study either though.
From my playing, I'm not terribly convinced that there are that
many decisions either. It usually felt as though one player set
up a defensive perimeter, making the key decisions at that point
(such as where and when to fire), and could pretty much follow that
throughout - unlike the CDG's of today, where you don't even know
what your options are until they make it into your hand. The attacker
usually had some set advancing patterns, and a few key decisions
here and there - but not too different from most gunpowder era games.

The ancients have a reason why there are few choices. Which is
probably why they've never been all that popular a subject.

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kentreuber wrote:
I've been moving towards platoon level games such as Panzer Grenadier or Nations at War Series. Scenarios in these games tend to represent a few hours of time,rather than a few minutes. It makes me feel like I'm doing something more significant. In Panzer Grenadier, for example, I was able to do a nighttime bridging action, which I could have never done in a squad level game.


For a good platoon level game on a fairly large canvas try Tactical Combat System. GD '42 is one example
Smashing good fun.


Russians and Germans fight it out in Op Mars



Arty is King of the Battlefield


Fight the Commies on the frozen hills of Korea.

Its a reasonably sophisticated system, good fan base, mostly ASL'ers or reformed ASL players. Very good command and control, some games are better done than others tho.

www.meshtime.com/tag/tcs for more information, AARs and articles on TCS.
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You play solo a lot, right Calandale? I've watched many, many of your vids and find them incredibly interesting.

I first got started with GBoH playing it solo, and did enjoy it. When I played if face to face, that is when I got sick of it. I wonder if there is something going on there. GBoH feels like watching something happen, not playing something.

I think in other respects, you and I come to games for very different reasons.

When you say ASL didn't have many decisions--did you play it solo or FtF? I think this matters, because there is a huge poker element in ASL, lots of bluffing, trying to break the other player's morale, etc. I don't see how the psychological elements would translate well to solitaire play. In fact, I read some tactical tip for ASL which said something along these lines: "try to force a lot of decisions on your opponent. The more decisions he has to make, the greater the likelihood is that he'll make a mistake."

Also, ASL simply isn't an "historical insight" game. Historical insight games work well, and often better, as solitaire games. Who wants to play competitively a game designed "to show why side x lost?" ASL really is meant to be played between opponents trying to win, not trying to understand something. This goes back to the "it isn't a simulation" thing.
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Rindu wrote:
You play solo a lot, right Calandale?


Nearly exclusively.

Quote:
I first got started with GBoH playing it solo, and did enjoy it. When I played if face to face, that is when I got sick of it. I wonder if there is something going on there. GBoH feels like watching something happen, not playing something.


I think so. That's very much what I like in many games.



Quote:
When you say ASL didn't have many decisions--did you play it solo or FtF?


Primarily FtF - I didn't enjoy it solo.

Quote:
I think this matters, because there is a huge poker element in ASL, lots of bluffing, trying to break the other player's morale, etc. I don't see how the psychological elements would translate well to solitaire play. In fact, I read some tactical tip for ASL which said something along these lines: "try to force a lot of decisions on your opponent. The more decisions he has to make, the greater the likelihood is that he'll make a mistake."


May be. And understanding that, I MAY be able to find
the hook for solo. Still wouldn't be the same.

Quote:
Also, ASL simply isn't an "historical insight" game. Historical insight games work well, and often better, as solitaire games. Who wants to play competitively a game designed "to show why side x lost?"


Ok. I doubt I play much of anything competitively. Not to say
I can't do quite well in some competitive games (18xx is probably
the furthest in that direction for me - certainly I never played
Go with a terribly competitive mindset, it felt more cooperative
than anything else).

Quote:
ASL really is meant to be played between opponents trying to win, not trying to understand something. This goes back to the "it isn't a simulation" thing.


That's so tough for me to understand. The idea of putting that
many rules into something, and NOT to be bothering with simulation.
Then again, I may have experienced some of that kind of pleasure
with SFB - pulling some unexpected rule outta my ass, to blindside
an opponent - the kind of thing that just wouldn't work if expected,
but sometimes even good players get sloppy or take risks knowing
that it's such a high risk, no one ever tries it.

Never got to that level of knowledge in ASL. Nor, with the scenario
I enjoyed most (Red Barricades) would it have been as likely to
help much - those one off's worked great in small SFB engagements,
but they wouldn't be enough to turn a full fleet action - I suspect
the same is true with a huge ASL game.
 
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calandale wrote:
certainly I never played
Go with a terribly competitive mindset, it felt more cooperative
than anything else).


I've heard Go contrasted with Chess in the following way: Chess represents man vs. man. Go is man vs. self.

Thanks for the stimulating conversation!
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